SuperJavi uses his gold winning skates in Sochi as well

fernandez_hosoktereOn Sunday morning, three Spanish and three Hungarian took a car. One of the Spanish was the European Champion, Javier Fernandez, and Sonia Lafuente, his team mate and very good friend came with him. We wanted to do a tour to show Fernanez this beautiful city and to collect his impressions of the week, the city and some personal information. It was raining a bit, not the best day for skating in an open ice rink, but Javier was happy for the tour, although a bit sleepy from last night. The other people from the group were me, a volunteer from Spain, two photographers and the driver.

Question: How would you say this week has been for you? And what else would you point out apart from the gold medal?

Answer: This week has been a good one for me. The best of this week, apart from the gold medal, was the public. They cheered a lot and there were many Spanish fans, and well, the competition itself has been a personal success because I was nervous, but finally everything went perfect.

Q: If you compare this competition with Sheffield 2012, there, your nerves didn’t leave you perform a good program, but here in Budapest, despite the nervous, you could achieve too good performances. Did you have to change anything in your traning not just physical but also psychological?

A: There are competitions that go better than others. In Sheffield I never got used to the schedule or the ice and it was a complete disaster. But what I do it’s just to forget about bad competitions, because if you have them in your mind, the only thing you do is getting worse the next ones. So I just forgot the past and kept going.

Q: On Saturday, your parents invited all Spanish fans to toast with champagne for your gold. So it’s true that Spanish skaters, fans and journalist have a different relationship than in other countries. Why?

A: I think it’s ours personality. We are more open than other countries’ people and if theirs is a party, we are in. Besides, we all know each other. There are not many skaters or fans in Spain, and if someone new arrives, the other fans introduce them to us. So finally we are like a family. I think that if I wasn’t from Spain I wouldn’t have the same personality.

Q: We are on Hero’s Square. In your exhibition, you are SuperJavi, a Superhero in Spanish’s colors. Do you feel like a hero in any way? Why did you choose that exhibition program?

A: I don’t feel like a hero, not at all. And the exhibition program just came out that way. The last thing in our minds was to change into a superhero in the middle of the program, but when we listened the song “I need a hero” by Bonnie Tyler, we thought about it after having the entire program already finished. “What if we do a superhero’s suit?” Tons of ideas started occurring to us so we put all of them together. Kurt Browning made the choreography, but we also worked with an actor for the facial expressions and the voice. We had so much fun putting all the music together and my voice in a recording studio. I was a great experience.

Q: Your voice. Usually, when Spanish people talk in English, we have a strong Spanish accent, and we can listen to it in your recording. Did you do it stronger in purpose?

A: It’s my natural accent. I know it’s funny, but people always say that they like it. So we thought it would be funny for the exhibition. And well, although maybe with more practice I’ll get better accent, I don’t have any intention to change it. People and skaters always laugh about my accent but they also say it’s cute.

So Javier went on the ice at the Europe’s biggest open air ice rink and performed some spins for the public and the photographers.

Q: How was it? Did you like the ice? And would you like to compete in this kind of ice rink?

A: It was great! It’s really big, I’m impressed. It would be great to have one rink as big as this one. The ice was pretty good for an open air ice rink. I wouldn’t like to compete in an ice rink this big (laughs), or I would finish exhausted in the end. But it would be great for an exhibition or even for training.

So when Javi takes of his skates, Tomas, the photographer pick them to admire them.

Javier: If he gets too close to them he will die.

Q: Do you use something for the odor?

A: No, I don’t. And these skaters have many years. I change skates each year, but as this year I couldn’t get used to the new ones, I had to come back to the old ones. And they are doing greater than I expected! I guess I’ll use them in Sochi.

And when we went out of the ice rink to keep with our tour they were doing the resurfacing.

Javier: This has to be difficult.

Q: Driving a zamboni? Have you ever tried it?

A: Actually I haven’t, and I would love to. I should ask someone to teach me in Toronto, so when I’ll be back in Spain, I could teach them how to do it. They are pretty bad at it.

Q: How did you expect people in Budapest?
A: To tell you the truth, I expected them blonder, more like Russians. So it was a surprise for me when I saw that if there were in Spain, I wouldn’t think they were foreigners. And also, I didn’t expect the city this beautiful.

Q: Do you plan to visit the city apart from this tour we’re doing right now?

A: If I have time I’d love to, but I’m leaving in less than 24 hours, so I think I won’t. I can’t even stop in Madrid for the media, Brian (Orser) said that we’re going straight to Toronto. So I’ll have to talk to the media by phone. And I’m happy to say that I’m getting many calls.

Q: When you started skating, did you imagine that you would be two times European Champion?

A:  No. When I started skating, I did it as I did other sport like soccer or tennis. I never thought about becoming someone in this sport. And when I was little when I watched competitions I paid special attention to Plushenko. Think about, I was a toddler and he already was winning championships, and now he’s 31 and he stills compete. I used to like him a lot and I tried to watch all his competitions. Also, I used to spend my summers in a stage that Alexey Mishin did in Jaca (Spain), so I used to see him training there and I thought that what he did was amazing.

Our next stop is Széchenyi thermal waters

Q: When you see a photo of you with a jump face or a spin face, what do you think?

A: I’ve always wondered why they do those photos and why they make them public. They should pick other pictures where we have a good face, but maybe they want to express our suffering or the movement. It has to be a reason, but it’s cruel.

Javier looks with surprise the thermal waters, saying things like “wow this is great!” “It has to be relaxing!” “We should have something like this for after skating!”

Javier: When I finish competing or training, I do nothing special to relax. Only if I see that I need a massage or sauna I go, but it’s not something I do too often.

Q: And before the competition? There are skaters who use some techniques for improve their trust or for get relaxed. What do you do?

A: I just try to relax when I’m still at the hotel. When I enter in the venue, I’m already focused. And before stepping into the ice, I try not to think.

Q: Do you have a diet?

A: There are skaters who have to take care of the food they eat; some of them even have a special diet. But for me, if I want to eat pizza, I eat it. If I want to eat a hamburger, I eat it. Right now I would eat a Mcdonalds’ one (laughs). But I try not to eat fast food everyday. I love food in general. I don’t have a favorite dish. I love Spanish cuisine, homemade food. When I was little, I didn’t like lentil soup (Spanish typical food), but I had to eat everything my parents put on my plate. Now, I missed the. I also love Japanese food, not just sushi, everything, and when I go to Japan, I fill my stomach. Here I tried Gulyàs soup. It was delicious!

Q: Right now you’re wearing glasses. Do you use contacts to skate or you just skate without them?

A: I can’t skate without contacts, but it’s uncomfortable. I have myopia and without glasses or contacts I just see enough for not crashing. I don’t know where I’m in the rink. And despite sometime contacts hurt me, it has never happened during competition.

Q: Now you’re famous, how do you deal with fans?

A: Fans are great. Sometimes you find someone a bit scary, who wants to invite you home for eating, or having your phone number, but I’m pretty patient person. Only if I’m hungry I start to get angry. So I just have to have my stomach filled with food.

Q: So which one you’ll say that is your biggest addiction? Food maybe?

A: I love food. But I’d say that my biggest addiction is my play station. I love playing games and they allow me to have my mind out of skating. My favorite game is Call of Duty. I’m an addicted. I can play for hours and hours. I know it’s bad being all the day playing videogames, but with that I relax and forget about skating. I play after the trainings, so if I had a bad training I forget about it.

Q: So you’d say that your play stations is the thing you wouldn’t be able to leave without it?

A: No, I don’t think so. I would miss it, but I could live without it. I couldn’t leave without my cat. She leaves with me in Canada since last year and her name is Effie, she’s so cute and fat. (He shows us a video where Effie is playing.) I’m allergic to cats, but I don’t mind. I also couldn’t leave without my parents.

Q: And when you retire, what do you want to do?

A: I’d like to coach. I’ve already taught some lessons and some seminar with Brian (Orser) but nothing else.

Q: And as a future coach, do you want to train a skater with your personality?

A: Yes, I think I’m easy to train.

Sonia (Lafuente) just turned her face and started saying that’s not true.

Q: Which has being the most difficult element to learn? And the easiest?

A: The combination with triple toe was the most difficult to learn. The easiest ones were quads in general. A few days after the first time I tried it (the quad toe), I could land them.

Q: So tell us some anecdotes. One from this week, another from when you were little, and another from your skating life.

A: This week, the one I remember, is that we left our suitcases outside, in the balcony, during the night, and when we woke up, they were totally wet. But it was just our suitcases, Marta (Garcia), left her skates in the balcony during the night, and she spent the morning of her free skating trying to dry them with the hair drying.

When I was little, they punished me a lot during skating lessons. The reasons, I used to talked a lot with Sonia, Sonia’s fault of course, (Sonia shakes her head), and I used to eat the snow at the ice rink… so they used to punish me sitting in a bench. Sometimes I spent more time in the bench that in the ice.

And another anecdote I have is from when I went to New Jersey to train with Morozov (Nicolai). When I got there, I couldn’t speak English, so it was hard to understand people. And I remember that I went to my apartment, and it was empty. So I went to Ikea and bought a bed. I spent that night, trying to build it, with the light of a candle because I had not electricity. It was hard, but I learnt how to get things by myself.

Q: Sonia and you grew up together and now you train again together. It has always been you and Sonia, the only ones who went out competing for Spain. Now you are a bigger team, at least 5 skaters, how do you feel?

A: I don’t like it at all to have a team, they don’t let as be in the spotlight. (He laughs). I’m joking. Of course I love it. It’s great, we are more, so we have more and we can party better (laughs). You know, a party with 2 people is a bit boring, but with 10 people it’s funnier. Next year we’ll be one more person at the Europeans.

And when we crossed the bridge to see part of Buda, Javier surprised us telling us a story.

Javier: There is a legend about a statue here in Budapest. There was a girl who saw a handsome man who went hunting, in hunting clothes and she fell madly in love for him. But then she discovered he was a king, and she committed suicide because she’ll never reach a man as important as him. It’s tragic but I loved that story. I love romantic stories and this one I listened it from my cousin the other day we went dinner and I loved it. My favorite movie is “The last Samurai”, but I do love romantic movies as “The vow”, “Pearl Harbour”, “The notebook” and “The lucky one”. I’d love to skate a program with their soundtracks.

Q: So now we’re getting to the end of our tour, from one to ten, which rating would you give for this week and this competition?

A: I’ll give you a 9. And I don’t give it a 10 because I didn’t like too much the food at the hotel, so I was hungry most of the times. It was a great experience.

So this is Javier: a food lover and a romantic person. We left him at the hotel and we headed to the exhibition wanted to watch SuperJavi saving the world again.


(by Raquel Amado Martinez)